Sunday Vigil

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Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Whoever lives and believes in me
will never die.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Matthew 10, 24-33

'Disciple is not superior to teacher, nor slave to master.

It is enough for disciple to grow to be like teacher, and slave like master. If they have called the master of the house "Beelzebul", how much more the members of his household?

'So do not be afraid of them. Everything now covered up will be uncovered, and everything now hidden will be made clear.

What I say to you in the dark, tell in the daylight; what you hear in whispers, proclaim from the housetops.

'Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; fear him rather who can destroy both body and soul in hell.

Can you not buy two sparrows for a penny? And yet not one falls to the ground without your Father knowing.

Why, every hair on your head has been counted.

So there is no need to be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

'So if anyone declares himself for me in the presence of human beings, I will declare myself for him in the presence of my Father in heaven.

But the one who disowns me in the presence of human beings, I will disown in the presence of my Father in heaven.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

If you believe, you will see the glory of God,
thus says the Lord.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

In his long missionary discourse addressed to his disciples, Jesus encourages them not to feel above their Teacher. This actually is the temptation of Adam: to challenge God. It is enough to feel like him. This should disturb us, but with incredible ease we can be overwhelmed by pride that fosters a feeling of independent and of being “disciples” to ourselves. Our salvation lies in being, and continuing to be, disciples of Jesus. In fact Jesus exhorts us not to fear the enemies of the Gospel: “Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.” The evangelist Matthew, in mentioning these words of Jesus, probably had in mind the experience of his community which endured strong criticism. And he wished to reassure it. The Lord never abandons his disciples. On the contrary, those who spend their life for the sake of the Gospel receive the consolation of the Lord, especially if they have to face difficulties and trials. It was never easy and worriless for the Christian community to preach the Gospel of the cross and of the resurrection. Surely we have to wonder what the exhortation not to be afraid and fearful means, since we are not living in a time of persecution. But maybe here is the real problem. It is true that Christians, at least in Europe, are not persecuted – though there is no lack of persecutions in a number of countries even today – but their hearts can easily become weakened and neglect to believe audaciously in the Gospel as a strength of change and salvation. A defeatist Christianity that cannot hope for a world of peace is left without strength. We can be led to think that the Gospel has no real interest in us because it asks us to demean our life, even with sacrifices, and ultimately make it ineffective for society. On the contrary. The disciple who follows the way of the Gospel does not get lost; God supports him: “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground unperceived by your Father. Even the hairs of your head are all counted.” The true security of Christians lies not in being invulnerable, or invincible, but in being loved beyond measure. Nothing in our life will be lost because everything is loved! Love loses nothing. “So do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows.” This loving attention by the Lord also becomes companionship in the struggle for communicating the Gospel to the ends of the earth. Christians are not conquerors, but beloved people who communicate the good news of victory over evil.